Biochar, a carbon-rich valuable by-product obtained from the hydrothermal carbonization of cellulose, was utilized as a support for synthesis of carbon encapsulated iron nanoparticles (CEINP) to promote green chemistry and engineering. Core-shell structures consisting of dark metal cores ranging from 40 to 80 nm and a light matrix with graphitic structure appeared in the CEINP. The porous graphitic layers encapsulate the preventing from oxidation. The iron retained its magnetic property and can therefore be easily recovered by an external magnetic field. The nanoparticles were carefully investigated using various characterization techniques including electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, surface area analyzer, Thermogravimetric analyzer etc. These CEINP were tested for the removal of heavy metal ions (Cr6+, Cu2+ and Pb2+) from aqueous solutions to explore their application in pollutant removal from water. Heavy metals are toxic to both human and other living forms posing a serious environmental concern nowadays. United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has enforced regulations to limit the level of inorganic chemicals in drinking water. At present, various technologies such as precipitation, membrane filtration and ion-exchange are being employed to remove metal pollutants from water. However, many of these processes have several disadvantages such as incomplete removal of metal ions, poor selectivity, requirements for expensive equipment, generation of large amounts of toxic sludge or other waste products that requires disposal. Unlike these methods, adsorption has proven to be economical and efficient for removing heavy metals.

Primary Author / Conference Presenter:
Sai Teja Neeli
Research Assistant
The University of Tulsa
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Hema Ramsum, The Russell School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK